Another week has slid by uneventfully at the hospital. We began the week with many deliveries and Caesarean Sections. The baby boom is incredible. Everyone is getting married, having babies and then more babies. We deliver many infants in the hallways because the labor and delivery rooms are full. There is no anesthesia nor forceps generally in the hallway. I’ve delivered many babies waiting for obstetricians who are either on their way, in the office or in another room delivering another Mom at the same time. It’s no big deal as I’ve been instructed well – including breech deliveries. I love the new Mom thing; and I’m quite jealous at times. My time will come. I am so tired when I arrive home that I collapse and begin to sleep until my parents wake me. They inform me it is time for bed; and I stumble upstairs. Generally, I collapse in bed with my clothes on and place my pajamas on sometime after midnight. I love my life except my Mom is constantly digging into my private life. It is as if my life is her life also. I understand; however, I’m in my twenties and in need of some space. If I bring a guy over he’s essentially dating my mom. Dad seems cool; but he’s also performing an analysis. I need Dubuque, Chicago, Milwaukee (again) or Denver. Did I say Denver? I just received a letter from the unmarried dormies in the Milwaukee area. They are definitely traveling to Denver with jobs and guy hunting. I’m invited. They will team up in downtown Denver apartments and work in the local hospitals. I’m considering this option; but I’m also planning to move out. It’s informing my parents that becomes the tough part with a move.
The phone rings and it is Dot Asper. She wants to have a beer tonight at Baumgartners, a local cheese and beer hangout. She sounded excited; and I’m happy for her in every way. Maybe she’s met a new guy? Maybe her Mom is better (probably not). Perhaps she’s going back to school? Anyway, she’s a true friend. If I’m tired I will still meet with her; and we’ll together solve worldly problems. If this was a blind date, she would have informed me. I have been uninformed in the past regarding an unexpected blind date. This is totally embarrassing; and I know Dot Asper has enough class not to do this to a good friend – at least I strongly feel she wouldn’t approach this move. We simply enjoy one another as girl to girl. We both have dissimilar problems; and we eventually solve them in our encounter. Her happy voice may mean that her Mom is not to be resuscitated, she has a new guy, is going to school or something unexpected is occurring. It will be fun and eventful. The beer and cheese at Baumgartners is second to none. It’s all home grown Huber beer and cheese from throughout the county. I cannot wait until we meet; and our small encounters are a positive aspect of the week. I inform Mom that I’ll be gone for a couple hours on Friday evening. I cannot wait; and let’s hope that my mood remains elevated. Work will be tough on Friday; and this will be a good respite to savor some fresh Green County beer and cheese. I love it.
Dot and I finally were able to meet at Baumgartner’s Friday evening at 9 PM. I got tied up with RN work (labor/deliveries) and she had to deal with some medical issues concerning her Mom. Bless her Mom’s soul as she is dying as we speak. Dot’s mother has severe unstable metastatic breast cancer. Dot’s emotions are on edge and I’m here to help. She relays that much of her family has become misaligned during the dying process of her mother. This isn’t unexpected because families squabble over everything from wills to medical treatments. The families seem to feel they know more than the physicians and nurses who care for ill patients daily. Many days I need to gulp as families enter labor with everything from home remedies to recommending Dad deliver the baby. Considerable mishaps can occur with labor; and we need to be ready. It’s frustrating, however, not unexpected when families want all these extraneous treatments and expect the RN and MD to work around their needs. We do have policies; and everyone is informed that once they elect to deliver at St. Claire Hospital in Monroe, Wisconsin, they will be expected to be professional and use our guidance. I talked to Dot about these matters; yet, I should be listening to her speak. Dot has more pressing stress than I have presently.
Dot and I discussed at length over more than one beer the palliative care her Mom is receiving. The morphine for pain control with the phenergan for nausea has helped immensely. She wishes that her mom would gently enter the next life. I instructed her that none of us have control over these matters. Dot’s mom could outlive all of us! The struggle of Dot’s Mom living longer than expected is what their family is having to experience presently. This has exhausted Dot’s family expenses; and now they are discussing selling the home to pay for the hospitalization. Some members of her family are suggesting euthanasia as a way to curtail medical costs. I highly recommend against anything medically involving murder. There are a few places around the country that are purportedly performing euthanasia. I didn’t want her Mom to undergo any procedure that would end her life prematurely; though I understood why the subject of dying by injection has surfaced within her family. There would be guilt spread throughout her family. Now there are continued squabbles over minimal estate resources of her mother. I’m learning as this could easily happen to anyone of us at anytime. The future is highly unpredictable.
After a couple of Huber beers and a baby swiss sandwich with rye bread, I noticed a cute guy sitting at the bar who wouldn’t quit staring at me. His friend was staring at Dot. The friend was also cute. I’m embarrassed and don’t quite know how to act. Suddenly, both these guys came to the booth and invited themselves to join us. These guys were very nice, worked in the local brewery, were single and appeared cultured to some extent. We had a great conversation about the state of affairs in Monroe, Wisconsin and nationally. Both were huge sports fans and loved everything from ice hockey to football. We talked until closing hour and were escorted home. Both Dot and I walked out of there feeling good with dates for Saturday evening. Both my parents were still up when I arrived home in the early morning hours. I experienced a ton of questions and was acting foolishly by my standards. I knew my parents felt that Jean Suzanne Zuercher (me) is always different and this is the norm. Never mind I lead the nursing corps at St. Claire Hospital in overtime work, great reviews and now high pay. I stumble upstairs knowing that my Mom is to meet this cute guy tomorrow. Though he works in a brewery, he is quite charming. That will have to do with my parents. Mom and Dad wanted to know his name as I’m walking upstairs and I mumbled Eric. Mom wanted to know his last name so the investigation could begin. I said he’d be here tomorrow for your evaluation.
I awake at 6 Saturday morning after being out late Friday night. I received 2 – 3 hours of sleep and the delivery suite needs my services. I’m tired, feel awful and don’t have time to get ready. Things are happening fast in OB this morning. I agreed as head nurse I’d come in whenever they needed me. I had no idea in this small town (5000 citizens) that I’d be this busy. Babies just keep coming. There are marriages upon marriages, babies after babies and new Moms (some unmarried). Most of these dads do step up and propose. Birth control seems out of style. Nobody cares about unwanted pregnancy (if there really is such a thing). It’s better discussed as unplanned pregnancy. Thus, I’m at times with the commitment over my head in hours, stress and lack of sleep. Many days I come home and collapse and do it all over again. There is no relief in sight; and the hospital administration doesn’t want me on vacation. I love what I’m doing; but maybe someday I’ll step aside and perform an easier nursing role. I’m on my way in our Oldsmobile. I park next to the hospital and run up the stairs to obstetrics.
As I enter the ward a large lady is being carted back to the Caesarean Section room. She’s in distress as is the baby. The RN on shift says she’s lost fetal heart tones and there is considerable bleeding. The blood bank has some O negative blood on the way to surgery. Mom’s blood pressure is difficult to measure and her pulse is thready. Her mental state is nearly stuporous. She will be administered an anesthetic and intubated. I assist the nurse anesthetist with the endotracheal tube after she received some sodium pentothal. Her blood pressure and vital signs are quite poor and she is in borderline resuscitation status. We administer some epinephrine through the IV and this helps immensely. The baby is delivered surgically and appears dead. The pediatrician immediately intubates the baby and performs chest compressions with manual ventilations. The baby finally begins to arouse and move. As the resuscitation proceeds, the baby begins to mightily struggle and becomes pink. The resuscitated baby spits the endotracheal tube from his windpipe and he’s crying, pink and appears normal.
Mom is struggling with her poor vital signs, immense blood loss and critical overall condition. The obstetricians are quite unhappy regarding her progress. They are administering methergine, massaging the uterus and thinking about a hysterectomy. The anesthetist states that it will be tough to get this Mom out of the room. A rushed decision for a hysterectomy due to massive continued bleeding was then completed. The experienced obstetricians completely remove the uterus in 10 minutes and sew Mom’s abdominal layers. Mom is transferred to our primitive ICU and she’s still alive. The entire medical staff appears is working on Mom to keep her alive. She’s placed on an iron lung for ventilation and provided blood. This will take hours for her to stabilize. Her baby days are over and the staff is exhausted after a trying night of attempting a vaginal delivery. I’m also fatigued for other reasons. I can’t catch a break.
The obstetricans want to discuss the case following my leaving the ICU. Essentially, they want to have me stay in the hospital 24/7. I said I cannot do this because I need a life also. One of the nurses aides saw Dot and I at Baumgartners drinking some beer and reported to the obstetricians. Now, they are concerned and discussed how I cannot be out in public having beer in my position. I’m so tired and just listened. There needs to be another Jean Suzanne Zuercher; but that will not happen. I said I’d be more discreet and available. We’ll let the discussion end on that high note. Everyone is tired. I want to sleep and they want me to stay because it is busy. I would call Eric, but his phone number is on my dresser (I’m certain Mom has it now). He’s coming over and all I can see is my fluffy bed.
I arrive home and Eric Clever is already at our house talking to my parents. They seem to like this guy. I smile and say I need to bathe because I’m full of Mom/baby juices. Everyone seems to understand. I’m rejuvenated. I’m actually smiling while I take this bathe and brush my teeth at the same time. I don’t have much time, but am savoring the warm/hot water and relaxation. Mom arrives upstairs and peeks into the bathroom. She says Eric is waiting for me. I reply nicely that I “get it.” I just need a couple minutes after working very hard the past three days with little sleep. I’ll be down in a second. I towel, perfume and apply a small amount of facial makeup quickly. I place my red sweater on top of my blouse and jump in a dark blue dress. This look isn’t appealing to me in front of the mirror. Mom is pacing downstairs and Dad is restless. I think they don’t want the impression to Eric that I’m untimely, late or non caring. I rethink my outfit and place a black and ivory dress on myself. This appears quite good with suede pumps. I’m downstairs and greeting Eric. He says we’re off to the movies and then eating. I’m quite good and say good-bye to my parents. Eric is laughing regarding the scene. He feels that Mom is overbearing and my Dad is having a tough time dealing with Mom. I agree. I said I was a half inch from moving out of the home. My sister Mary is still present, but had a baby shower this evening by some old Monroe High School Cheesemaker friends. Mary was a cheerleader, popular with the good looks and outgoing in a subtle manner. I was more boisterous; and Mom feels I need drugs or a counselor.
We drive Eric’s studebaker car near the theater. He notes we’re a couple minutes late; but there should be previews. That is good timing. We arrive and it is very crowded. There are no two seats together unfortunately; and nobody will move. It’s dark and Eric says we’ll just come back tomorrow. He negotiates a rain check with the manager and we attend Turner Hall, the old Rathskeller near the Monroe, Wisconsin square. There are endless amounts of excitement at this old establishment. We need to wait 45 minutes to eat, so we sit and have a Monroe beer (Huber). Tap Huber beer is easily the best beer anyone could brew. The Monroe brewery is the second oldest brewery in the United States. It makes superb beer. We enjoy a cheese plate; and ultimately we seem to enjoy one another. Eric is two years older than myself. I knew his younger sister (cheerleader). I was never quite popular enough to make the cheerleading squad so I played tennis. It has been rough keeping up with my sister Mary. Eric knew Mary and knew she was very popular with teachers, parents, other gals and especially young guys. Mary never had to worry about dates and phone calls. I can’t compete with Mary; nor could I maintain her pace at Marquette University. I decided in Elementary School (St. Victor’s) that I couldn’t be at Mary’s level.
Our conversation turned to moving out of the house. I’m at a loss as to having a roommate, where to live and what the costs will be. I do need a car (wheels). My job is the best; but the social scene in Monroe, Wisconsin for a near debutante (joke) like me is limited. I don’t mean to denigrate Eric Clever, but I know so many people that it’s a couple dates, pregnancy and marriage in this baby boom era. Mary is delivering soon and it may occur in Monroe, Wisconsin. I feel like Dot Asper and myself are the only two young girls left in Monroe that are without chidlbirth. There is pressure everywhere you turnaround to marry and have babies. If you are not manufacturing children; then everyone feels there is something dramatically wrong with your life.
Eric talks about his family considerably. Most of his family is on the farm milking cows, combining crops and herding cattle and hogs. Their family farm operation near Monticello, Wisconsin is large. He still lives at home; but is also considering moving out. His parents are pressuring him to settle, marry and have a family. I may have walked into a death trap or a good thing. I don’t know. Finally, our table is ready. I’ve had one beer while Eric is having 5 beers. He loves beer; but this is considerable. We talk some more about his sisters, parents, friends and work. Now, he’s up to eight beers and I’m thinking how I’m getting him back to Monticello and then getting home (12 miles). I leave to go to the bathroom and he’s already at beer #10. I frankly don’t know what to do, how to act or think. Our meal arrives and he’s had syncope (fainting). The manager and all the people around here come to our aid. I see an OB doctor I work with on a regular basis; and he doesn’t appear happy. I’m embarrassed. News travels faster than the speed of light in small towns. Explaining this to Mom will not be easy. Though Eric is a master brewer; he’s also inherited a drinking problem. Now it’s my problem. I pay the manager and we place him in the back seat. I arouse him and get directions to his house.
We leave eventfully. I’m embarrassed, but just need to get him home. We drive to downtown Monticello, Wisconsin. I know he lives on a farm and I’m close. I walk into a supper club and ask where Eric Clever lives. I obtain decent directions from the manager and finally arrive a couple miles outside of Monticello, Wisconsin at his house. His parents are there waiting and I reiterate the story. His Mom is crying. Eric’s dad with me carries Eric into the house while he is in a coma. Perhaps, I should have taken him to the hospital. I wait until he finally arouses and then vomits the cheese we ate. His Dad gives him a cold bath which awakens him considerably. Mom gets in the car and drives me home to Monroe. She is quite sweet, embarrassed and talkative. She tells me everything about Eric. He’s basically a good kid who recently broke up with his high school sweetheart over alcohol consumption. He refuses to obtain medical help. His Mom says everyone else in the family is fine; and he’ll be fine when he decides to quit drinking too much beer.
Eric’s Mom and I arrive at our house with the lights still on. I thank her for the ride home and say we’ll always be friends. I enter the back door and Mom is sewing. Dad has retired and it is quiet. I want to say nothing; but Mom assumes everything was great and wants details. I spill the beans of our lack of movie, almost meal and drunken stupor. Mom stares and says she’s glad the date is completed – though unsuccessful. Though the Hubers live next door, she wonders if prohibition should return because of Larry Zuercher in Chicago, Illinois. I give her a kiss and slowly travel upstairs. I flop down in bed, begin crying and feel I need to move out of the house very soon. I plan my escape over the next one month. I’d move; however, I love my RN role. I’m chief obstetric RN at a busy hospital. I couldn’t be happier caring for Moms and babies. Perhaps I could feel the same way in Dubuque, Milwaukee, Rockford, Chicago or Denver ( a dream).
I’m called in the next morning early. RN Bev, who grew up in Monticello, Wisconsin already knows the details of Eric Clever and my date. She laughs and says I’ve been indoctrinated into Monticello, Wisconsin culture. Most Monticellans are laughing about this date. I remark that the alcoholism really is not funny and he needs help. Bev remarks that I should have done more research before the date. I agree and could kill her and everyone else for standing still. I’m so embarrassed. I can never return to Turner Hall, let alone go out anywhere in Monroe, Wisconsin. I’ll just travel to Juda or Brodhead within Green County. I’m still tired from the night before and suddenly my sister, Mary, shows for a labor check with Mom. She’s having Braxton-Hicks contractions; and I’m wondering if her dates are correct. Rollie (husband) is planning on returning any day. I send Mary home with instructions to actually have a glass of wine to stop the contractions. She calls back in an hour and reports that it is working. They want to have the baby in Aurora, Illinois (home). Rollie returns in the middle of the night from his Chiang-Kai Shek stint as interpreter. He’s home for the delivery and they are off in the morning to deliver the baby in Illinois. That is for the better because though I love my sister, my Mother and her together are considerably too much for my nerves.
Mary and Rollie are gone by the time I arrive home after working nearly 24 hours. I keep telling myself I cannot keep up with this obstetric pace. I love it; but it is killing me. The hospital administration, nursing, obstetricians and patients all need me. Considerable amounts of my time are emergencies or urgent medical issues relating to childbirth. The paperwork with nursing charting is increasingly more strenuous. Virtually no regulatory, hospital official or patient reviews a nursing record unless something goes awry. When clinical matters stray, there is just not much time to record what is happening. The administration is always discussing our direct patient care when charting demands precision and time. I do the best I can; however, on review I’m occasionally lacking in completeness. I’ve moved onto the next childbirth and will return for my charting. If I’m involved with 7 deliveries in a row, it is difficult to maintain a clear track record of all these deliveries for charting. We are short staffed on many shifts; and I’m exhausted if I’m instructed to work another 8 or 12. This is abnormal; and I know I cannot maintain this pace. I need help. Maybe I should move and take a floor job elsewhere.
The Eric Clever fall out has never ended. A birthing Mom from Monticello informed me that she knew all the details of our date. She remarked that Eric Clever is very cute but he’s trouble. In a small nice way she informed me that be glad this drunken stupor happened because Eric can swoon a girl quite easily because of looks and appeal. However, his drinking issues are not novel to Monticello residents. Eric went to Monroe High School because his parents felt that the high school in Monticello was not large enough, sports teams were inferior and Eric was better than the normal Monticello, Wisconsin high school student. That never bothered Eric Clever because he made friends in both arenas. He was quite popular during the week in Monroe and on weekends in Monticello. His family was fairly wealthy and Catholic. My mother easily detected that fact. That is why she didn’t want me causing Eric to wait – despite me not sitting down for hours on the obstetric ward. I cannot make sense of someone throwing their life away to alcohol. I informed the Monticello Mom in labor to be that Eric Clever and I are done. Though he’s called a couple times, I’m through with him. In fact, I’m through with all men. I just cannot force this issue because I bump into trouble. My parents are asking more and more questions. I cannot take home being more stressful than work. Though I’m working hard and loving it, I need home to be a sanctuary. I need a small efficiency apartment. That is all with a serviceable auto for freedom. I make enough money and have no school debt. I want the freedom so bad I can taste liberty. The problem is facing my parents and moving out. I’m certain they expected me to move when a marriage proposal and marital union within the church occurred. That won’t happen. I’ll find a window to propose a change (move).
Dot Asper called and mentioned that her Mom is dying within the next couple days. I walk over to her house and we have coffee. She is crying incessantly; so much that I’m also crying. I don’t know her Mom because she’s under palliative care at the hospital and comatose. When I met her last month she was stuporous. I cannot understand how or why people can linger with life tenuously. Dot’s Mom is an angel according to everyone she knows. Dot will probably move onto her next life in Madison; as I’ve encouraged her to attend college. This will be a large step for Dot as a young adult. She’ll be in classes with older teenagers. Increasingly with military personnel attending college, this is becoming a common phenomenon. Thus, Dot needs to calculate where her skills will be best utilized. Most probably, she’ll major in literature and become a college teacher herself. I’ll pray for Dot Asper and her family daily. My rosary is still at my bedside.
I received another call from Eric Clever with Mom answering the phone. She insisted I talk because Mom discovered he was Catholic. And we all know how that goes with snoopy parents. I obtain the phone and inform Eric that I have zero interest in a relationship after he apologizes. I hang up the phone quickly; and Mom says that was rude. I inform Mom that even Marquette University taught me to make good adult decisions. If he removes himself from alcohol, he’s probably eligible for someone. It is not me, however. That alcohol inheritance carries itself throughout generations, and I don’t care to have children besieged by this illness. Thus, I’m done despite Eric Clever being a Catholic. I’m done and moving on with my life. Again, I’m done with all men – at least for a long while.
My brother, James, is returning home this coming weekend. He’ll attend mass as a Jesuit brother. I’ll talk to him for hours because he’s always full of information nobody else possesses. I cannot wait to see him. He’s been quite successful in Iowa helping special needs families. His mission is helping all people under God’s graces. He loves the poverty vows and is the ultimate Jesuit priest. I cannot wait to see him be involved with mass. He’s so reverent. There are no girls chasing James, and never will be henceforth. James loves sports and will try to golf 18 holes, play some softball and bowl. Dad and him will revert to their childhood dreams and pretend they are professional at everything. Dad loves James and his decision to become a Jesuit. Dad has been so supportive of James. This has helped with James decision to enter the priesthood. In the backs of parents minds are grandchildren. That’s my duty; and I’m failing. Mary is holding up the family extension. She is due any day; and that will engender a trip to Aurora, Illinois. It will be a grand occasion; and our family will celebrate after the birth of Mary’s baby like no other family.
I’m exhausted again after a return trip to the hospital last evening. We cannot find enough obstetric nurses; and I’m called upon to rescue the situation. Unfortunately, I need my sleep, downtime and nerves. Obstetrics is quite invigorating, never boring and full of joy with an occasional negative event. We did encounter a stillborn last evening unexpectedly. The baby had reasonable heart tones and a fairly normal first stage (zero to 10 centimeter dilation) and second stage of labor (10 centimeters. to the final push). At the very end of the delivery, the baby’s shoulder wouldn’t quite come through the vaginal introitus. The Mom finally was able to push baby through the birth canal. The baby was blue and non-responsive. Mom had a difficult time after a rush for resuscitation failed. It was obvious that the baby probably died some time earlier than the final stage of labor. Due to the commotion, we couldn’t detect fetal heart tones at the end. This is not uncommon because babies turn and twist with our fetal stethoscopes unable to detect heart tones frequently. Besides, there is very little medicine has to offer excepting a Caesarean Section (surgical delivery). This is quite difficult at the very end of labor; and not infrequently trying to deliver a baby through the abdomen requires more skill. The baby is trapped in Mom’s pelvis. Our obstetricans always quote rates far improved modernly with forcep deliveries, anesthesia (regional and general) as being much better than the 10% Mom and baby mortality at the turn of the 20th Century.
I awaken in the morning and Mom has made her usual tasty oatmeal. We gather for breakfast after I obtained about four and a half hours of sleep. Mom is still overly concerned about Eric Clever and our date of about an hour and a half. I inform Mom that we are not going anywhere, I never care to see him again and I’m on my way to becoming an old maid. I’ll be not unlike Dot Asper if I stay in Monroe. My Mom and Dad stare at me and remark that there are plenty of eligible young men in the church. I remark that they haven’t found me – and never will. Most are farmers and have between an 8th grade and high school graduate education. After having spent 4 years in college it is difficult to relate to someone who has no upper level education. I don’t mean to be sassy; but the studies say your mate should have like education. When a great disparity in education occurs, there is jealousy, anger and frustration. That problem usually surfaces well into the relationship according to the studies. I inform Mom and Dad that I probably need to be in Chicago for youth and other matters. They say they would miss me tremendously; but would highly understand. In a calming moment I inform them that I probably should move out of the house, Though Mary is on her way to Aurora, Illinois and having her baby and family there, and despite the loneliness and empty nest, I need to be gone. I need my space, time and freedom. My parents stare as if I’m in the 7th grade. I never expected any of this moving back to Monroe, Wisconsin. I’m here and this is reality.
Mom begs me to stay and work things out while I’m here. She says she’ll give me more of a leash. I told Mom that I’m in my 20s and life is passing me by quickly. I don’t have room to relive my childhood at home. Shortly after college with no money and needs, I required some assistance. I received this and now I’m in much better shape to move on. Life has been easier for James and Mary. They have their mission; but my mission as an obstetric nurse had to include coming home and working in the same community as my parents. Monroe, Wisconsin is only 5000 people; and everyone knows everything about everyone. My brother and sister can freely roam and do what they please. Mom and Dad are not under their watchful eye as I am constantly. Unfortunately, the decision to return home was when I was a touch depressed at the end of Marquette University Nursing School. I was leaving my best friends I’ll ever know. I had to find solace in someone I knew; so I returned home. It was great the first few weeks; but now I’ve come to have my parents under my skin constantly. My dad is fairly cool; but Mom at times is aggravating. She is able to get on my nerves like no other human being. If she reads this diary, I’m dead in the water. I honored myself to write a true to life story. When my remains are dug from the earth, they’ll find this little book. I’ll be famous but not alive.
Mom repeatedly asks me about Eric Clever from Monticello, Wisconsin. Thankfully, Eric is in Monticello and not Monroe. This is a small county where virtually everyone knows all. I can’t escape the chatter around the community. It is highly embarrassing for me to deal with going out with a cute guy and then having him vomit from alcohol at Turner Hall. It was a Friday night fish fry (the custom in Wisconsin). And I’m having to deal with an inebriated date. My luck is not good with guys. I keep hearing about this Denver escapade from my dormies at Marquette. I have an open invitation; but that is a large stretch for me to move out of the midwest. I cannot wait to move somewhere. I’ll try down the street and discover that I can live on my own in an efficiency (not much room) apartment. If, however, I’m lonely, I can always move back in with my parents. Maybe they will understand; but they are so old school that Mom and Dad will probably feel it is all their fault. I’m just not in 6th grade at this juncture in my life. I need to solve the dilemma of moving out. Now that Mary is back in Illinois having her baby any day, we will hopefully obtain some peace and quiet for my parents and yours truly (me).
I received a call from the high school regarding career day. I’ve volunteered some time to mentor some high school seniors in nursing. Few have any idea what they are encountering. I inform them that vomitus, poop and patients smelling like a hog farm are common in Green County. We are to serve and the meaning of nursing is to nourish. Nursing is an honorable profession; and I’m at the forefront as a head OB-GYN nurse. I love it; but it has taken its toll on my physically and emotionally. Everyone seems to know me now; and my Mom knows things about me before I’m aware. I don’t inform the high school seniors that they may want to stay in Chicago, Madison or Milwaukee after nursing school. A young girl just graduating and working needs space from her parents. That is most easily accomplished by not returning home after graduation from nursing school, obtaining a job away from home and making things work elsewhere. There are issues upon issues while returning home from college. Everyone expects the new graduate to save the world. Parents and your family peek into all aspects of your life. I want freedom; and now I’m coming to the realization that I’ll obtain this on my own volition. I cannot relay all this to the prospective nurses because Monroe is a very small community. Spoken language gets repeated, changed and spreads like wildfire. Thus, I’ll just fabricate my existence and concentrate on the professional aspect of nursing. Most of these high school gals will not concern themselves with life after school. They are far more concerned about acceptance to nursing school and passing frosh chemistry (the ultimate deal breaker for nursing school).
I have a few minutes at work the next day and stumble onto the newspaper (Monroe Evening Times). I find the want ads and seek out rental apartments. There are not many rental real estate homes. The lonely little apartments are generally above homes; and rented as income for single people. Some mention only professionals and quiet/peaceful renter preferred. I’ve never done this before. I was always in a dorm at Marquette. I’m now a big girl. I don’t even understand lease laws, one month advance rent nor delinquent payment clauses. I’ll go to the library and study under Dot Asper. I need to pay a month in advance and may not have my money returned if I destroy the apartment in any manner (even slight damage). That is probably just standard discourse and contract language. I don’t know if I can follow through with a rental agreement because my parents will probably provide a heavy guilt trip. I’m scared but know I must move on. I call the landlord and accept his invitation to look at this apartment above his home. His kids have left and now he’s renting the space. It has a back entrance, family room, one bedroom and kitchen. It is spacious; and will give me room for a large radio. I cannot wait to review with the landlord.
I spring back to work and everyone asks me what is happening. I surmise that I need to inform my colleagues that I’m moving out. It’s not out of the city or county; it’s down the block from my parents. Everyone knows my parents and remarks that it is about time I’m on my own. Now I’m sturdier when reviewing the apartment and my parents. I’m certain after I inform Mom and Dad that they’ll be up all night discussing what went wrong. I need to move on. A couple more deliveries and I’m out of there. I’m finished and walking to the apartment. It’s two blocks from my parents house. The landlord is nice, cute and a good business person. He explains the deal and looks me in the eye. I sign and now I have my own place. I cannot go home and discuss this with my parents because it will take hours. There will be pros and cons; and I’ll be certain to be an old maid. The apartment is on a month to month lease; so I’m not tied forever. The landlord seems quite happy to not have a long term lease. He’ll make it good; and I’ll be his best tenant.
I walk home and Mom is serious about something. I go upstairs and shower. She walks into the bathroom and asks when I’m moving out. One of the gals at the hospital already spread the news that I’m moving away from home. I inform Mom that I love her and we’ll be even closer (good comeback). She begins to cry and so do I. I towel off and then we hug. This is melancholic, empty nest and depression coming at me. We’re both emotional; and I’m glad Dad isn’t home. Mom cries all the way downstairs and begins to cook her very best meal, beef stroganoff. My aunts, Bertha and Lydia are here tonight for supper after a yodeling demonstration at Turner Hall. I love them because they are so joyful, reverent and funny.
After we pray The Lord’s Prayer for supper, I mention to everyone that I’m moving down the block away from home. The room becomes silent; and Mom begins crying again. I console Mom and my aunts begin yodeling. This livens up the atmosphere and we eat the very best meal ever. We discuss family matters including our cottage on Decatur Lake, farm and cheese factory in Decatur and our relatives involved in the priesthood and nun training. Everyone seems happier after cherry pie and ice cream. I leave the table and remark that I need to begin to pack. My Dad says: “Jean is actually moving out!”